The Review of Religions is pleased to continue our serialisation of the first-ever full English Translation of At-Tafsīr-ul-Kabīr – The Grand Exegesis. This is the magnum opus of Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra), Second Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and whilst parts of it have previously been published in other works, such as the five-vol- ume Holy Qur’an with English Translation and Commentary, it has never before been translated in its entirety.
This is one of the most insightful and in-depth commentaries of the Holy Qur’an ever written, and The Review of Religions has the honour to publish it for our English readers for the first time.
Translated by Murtaza Ahmad
Edited by The Review of Religions Translation Team
[Continuation of the Exegesis: Master of the Time of Judgement]
The verse ‘Master of the Time of Judgement’ [Māliki yawmiddīn] [مالک یوم الدین] does not mean that Allah the Almighty is not the master of this world. Rather, if this verse is understood to only mean the ‘Master of the Day of Judgement’, even then the verse would imply that, in reality, there will be no Master [Mālik] on that day besides Allah. As He states:
وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا يَوْمُ الدِّينِ * ثُمَّ مَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا يَوْمُ الدِّينِ * يَوْمَ لا تَمْلِكُ نَفْسٌ لِنَفْسٍ شَيْئًا وَالأَمْرُ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِلَّهِ
‘And what should make thee know what the Day of Judgment is! Again, what should make thee know what the Day of Judgment is! The day when a soul shall have no power to do aught for another soul! And the command on that day will be Allah’s.’ 
Thus, Mālik implies that the sovereignty of those who are apparently seen as kings, rulers and masters in this world will cease to exist in the hereafter, but it does not mean that Allah does not have sovereignty in this world. In these four attributes [Rabbul ‘ālamīn, ar-Raḥmān, ar-Raḥīm and Māliki Yawmiddin] the order in which they are given illustrates a point of great insight concerning sulūk2 [spiritual journey]. When we realise that Allah the Almighty’s station is most exalted while man’s is most low, it becomes clear to us that when Allah the Almighty turns towards His servant, He descends towards His servant; yet when a servant turns his attention to Allah, he begins to ascend from his lowly state towards [spiritual] heights. [Only] after having understood this point can we understand the attributes of Allah mentioned in Sūrah al- Fātihah. Allah the Almighty descends in stages upon His servant through:
1) Rabbul ‘ālamīn [Lord of All the Worlds]
2) Ar-Rahmān [The Most Gracious]
3) Ar-Rahīm [The Ever Merciful]
4) Māliki yawmiddīn [Master of the Time of Judgement]
That is, when He begins to manifest Himself to man, He first exhibits the attribute of Rabbul ‘ālamīn; that is, He designs an environment which is conducive to the positive growth and development of His chosen and beloved servant.
Then Allah [through the attribute of ar-Rahmān] gives these resources to His servant, through which he can advance spiritually.
Then when man benefits from these resources, Allah, [Who is ar-Rahīm], produces the most sublime and magnificent results, and after a long succession of favours, He brings about the ultimate outcome of man’s efforts and struggles. In other words, Allah grants success to His servant also in this world and, by manifesting His attribute of mālikiyyah [ownership] for him, He honours him with triumph in this world.
In contrast to this, when the servant turns to Allah the Almighty, he first has to become the manifestation of the attribute of Mālik. That is, he works towards establishing justice and equity in the world. However, his justice is mixed with mercy and the aspect of forgiveness is predominant in it, which means that he avoids inflicting cruelty. When the servant advances further in his spiritual journey, he becomes the manifestation of the attribute of rahīmiyyah; that is, he not only appreciates the works of the people around him but he also bestows on them favours greater than they rightfully deserve. In other words, he has the habit of doing good to others which is called ihsān [beneficence]. Then, man advances beyond this stage and the attribute of rahmāniyyah begins to be manifested through him and he begins to do good to all people – his own and others. His heart expands and thus becomes the manifestation of the attribute of the rahmāniyyah. And the love of both believers and disbelievers blossoms in his heart. He desires to do good to all, irrespective of whether they have treated him well or not. This is called the state of:
إيتاء ذي القربى
This means one becomes like a mother who tends to her child without thinking of the child being obedient and without hoping to get something in exchange. In the same way, such a person becomes the well-wisher of mankind and then by advancing from this stage, he or she becomes the embodiment of the attribute Rabbul ‘ālamīn [Lord of all the Worlds]. This means that he turns his attention from people and expands his vision to encompass the order of the world. He begins to think of himself as a carer of the world and its guardian. He draws his attention towards reforming people collectively and changes the state of society.
These divine attributes which explain the paths of ascension and descent hold a most sublime secret pertaining to the spiritual journey. They are an extraordinary blessing for those that are seeking the way to God.
The teaching of Islam is so coherent that it keeps every human faculty in balance, precisely at its appropriate place, and nurtures it; this is a magnificent miracle of our Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.
– The Promised Messiah (as), Malfuzat-Volume 2 (Tilford, Surrey: Islam International Publications Ltd., 2019), 6.
- The Holy Qur’an, 82:18-20.
- Sulūk refers to a Sufi term meaning a ‘spiritual journey or path’. The one that embarks on this ‘path’ is often referred to as sālik. [The Review of Religions].